Thursday, July 30, 2009

Happy Bubbles

Years ago, Rich and I went through a period when we played a lot of The Sims on the PC. That is the game where you create people and basically direct their lives on the computer. Eventually we got tired of having to tell them to go to the bathroom and take showers, and we moved on to more interesting games. But one thing that was kind of funny in the game was that when you upgraded your characters' surroundings (bought nicer furniture, or got a nicer house), they would have these little smiley faces over their heads. It made them happy.

This month, we all have had little "happy bubbles" over our heads when we go into the family room. See why?
That's Mathboy on the floor with his Algebra. Because, you know, like, why use a table and chair when you can sprawl out across the floor?
Mathboy at work
Yeah, I don't get it either.

I finished my shawl, and let it lounge on the new sofa.
Leda's Dream on New Couch

Rudolph likes the shawl, too.
Cat and Lace

There is not much other news to report. Catgirl had a great time at her camp. She got to play the part of Mrs. Bucket for 2 scenes in the camp production of Willy Wonka Jr., and she got to sing a solo ("Cheer Up, Charlie"). She did GREAT. Mathboy had a wonderful time doing golf camp--so good, in fact, that we are letting him do another week of golf camp in mid-August. He has really improved his play, even made a par on one hole when he and Rich played last week.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Where Croquet Mallets Go to Die

Our latest croquet set did not even get through the entire tournament at our summer party before half the mallets were broken. This year I saved the receipt and returned the set to Dick's on the Monday after the party ... which seems kind of wrong in a way I can't quite put my finger on. We bought a set, hosted a party and played with the set all day, and then returned the set. It's very weird. But still, it should not have broken, right? I mean, are these sets made to be used or what? I guess next year we really have to break down and buy the $150 professional set if we don't want it to be in pieces by the end of the party.

This year's winner was Catherine, wife to the 2007 winner, Scott. She played a great game. Attendance this year was lower than usual, for various reasons. We are going to have to shake things up next year somehow: we are conflicting with many other parties, vacations, and sleepaway camps. We'll have to think it over during the winter and will announce the New and Improved Party and MOLA tourney for 2010.

The night before the party brought a beautiful sight in the sky:
This picture does not do it justice. It was a double rainbow, that reached the ground on both sides. It was totally breathtaking, drawing people out of their houses to gawk, despite the sun-shower.

In other news, there is a new Algebra student in our house:
Seriously, why do cats have to lie on books? Anyway, the kids are delighted that he seems to enjoy lying on Mathboy's algebra. (Maybe it helps that the Algebra generally is lying on the carpet in the sun? Just a thought.)

As the summer progesses, we are finally doing some cosmetic work in the house. We've only been married for oh, say 16 years, so we thought it might be time to actually buy some furniture that was our own choice. Not that we are ungrateful for the things we have inherited from family members--it certainly has saved us money over the years, I know. But it is amazing that we have never really chosen any of our furnishings (except for a few little things here and there).

The walls in some rooms are starting to get on our nerves as well. Aside from the powder room that I painted last year, the last time anything was painted in the house was after the fire, in March 2002. Some of the rooms are looking a bit drab, or the colors are just plain getting on our nerves at this point. Catgirl's room had been painted pink after the fire, because she chose that color during the one month out of her entire life that she actually liked pink. By the time the guys were done painting her room, her pink phase was already over. She's been begging for a different color since 2003, was primised a new color in 2005. Finally, in July, 2009, she got what she asked for. PURPLE.
Unfortunately, it doesn't match her coverlet. We bought that in 2008 during a brief time in which she considered having the room painted blue. By 2009, she wanted purple. I think I kept putting off the painting in the hopes that if I waited long enough she might starts liking pink again. In the end, I had to admit that she really is not a "pink" kind of girl anyway.
The room does look so fresh and clean with the new paint. We were able to weed out a lot of the little girl clutter, and we made her a little reading nook in the corner.
After the Big Summer Party, Rich and I decided to force ourselves to Do Something about the pit that we called a family room. We were thoroughly tired of the steel blue that I actually first chose for that room in early 2001. No one liked the old leather couch (except Mathboy, but he's opposed to change in general. He wanted to keep the old minivan). Even the cat wouldn't sit on it. I had been taking refuge in the faded wing chair we kept in the corner.

In a rash move, we actually carried the much-maligned furniture from that room out to the curb. We figured that it would be easier to paint the room with it empty, and the lack of furniture would force us to finally put our money where our mouths are and buy new furniture. So. We painted.
Three coats of paint later, steel blue/gray walls have become a very pale buttery gold. Man, it is hard to paint light over dark. (As an aside: Please feel free to remind me of that the next time I want to paint a room a dark color!) Another problem: where we used paint tape to protect the ceiling, we discovered that the blue paint actually extended onto the ceiling by a smidge. So when we pulled the tape down we were left with a blue outline around the ceiling. Awesome. I dug through Catgirl's art drawer and came up with a fine point watercolor brush so I could go around the entire area painting over that outline.

Problem number 3: this is a HUGE room! In the tradition of the typical modern development house, our family room blends into the "breakfast nook, which morphs into the kitchen, all with no break in the wall where we could have a color change. So if you paint one of these "rooms," ya gotta paint 'em all. In the end, I had to go back to Home Depot for a 3rd gallon of paint. Rich made me buy a 4th, too, just in case, even though I swore we would not need it. It turned out that we did not end up even opening the 4th, but there is very little left of the 3rd, and I have not painted behind the fridge yet, so we will need it. 4 gallons! Sheesh.

When we were done, we packed everyone up and decided to stimulate the economy by going furniture shopping. We found some nice stuff at a Fourth of July sale, and are looking forward to the delivery. And this brings me to the last problem with our project: time. Not having bought furniture before, we did not even think about how long it would take to have the furniture delivered! We are looking at a good 10 days without a couch. When we went home after shopping, and saw the counch still sitting out by the curb, we actually considered hauling it back inside. But it had been out for 3 days by that time, so we were too skeeved out to actually do it. So we scrounged up some chairs from other rooms in the house, and re-hooked up the TV on its crappy old stand.

My knitting projects are coming along. I am about 190 rows into the lace shawl, and I just finished the first skein of yarn.
Actually, I had to cut off the last 10% of the skein, because it got so small that it collapsed into a tangled mess and I just could not sort it out. I wasted a precious hour of knitting time trying to detangle the mess, finally getting out the scissors and cutting my losses. I have enough of this yarn that it won't matter. I hope.

The blanket proceeds as well, but slowly. Here's a few of the squares with their borders:
I ran out of the light green yarn, but I have so much of the other colors that I have decided to plunge on anyway. For a while, the worsted weight garter stitch of this blanket was a welcome change from the tricky work required by the laceweight shawl. Now that I am used to the shawl, however, I am being more or less monogamous to it. The blanket can wait for the fall.

Well, gotta go pick the kids up from camp!